Pajamas and bathrobes are worn every night by
happy campers who will not tear at the seams and
demoralize you with questions like, “Does my ass
look fat in this?” If all you know is that their favorite
color is “blue,” you can make them dream-worthy
nightclothes of satin, flannel, silk, and soft cotton.
A silky nightshirt is a luxury not soon forgotten.
Now that only the very wealthy can afford to turn
their heat on, blankets are going to be more prized
than ever. The materials home sewers can buy
today are so plush: minky with a flannel back, fake
fur or suede with a flannel back, polar fleece with
a ... you get the idea. You don’t need a pattern: just
cut two pieces the same size and stitch them
together. Put a cozy trim around the edge and you’ll
have a blankie so righteous it will inspire thumb
sucking. You can make one of these in a couple of
hours, and your darling daughter/son/lover/best
mate will be besotted with it for the rest of their lives.
But what about the daytime? Is there any surefire
gift you can sew that your recipient is guaranteed to
wear outside, in view of an admiring public? There
are two areas where you cannot go wrong: cold
weather and babies.
Hats, as long as they are simple, like a watch cap
or beret — or better yet, a crown — are always a hit.
Illustration by Melinda Beck
Five-fingered gloves are a pain to sew — that’s why
they’re so expensive to buy, because constructing
those little finger compartments is not for the faint
of heart. However, knitted or stretch-wear gauntlets
are awesome, and a breeze to make. The forearm-sized tubes stop at the wrist or just before the fingers,
sparing you any complexity. Make a thumbhole if
you really want to be impressive.
Gauntlets have a special meaning to those who
use keyboards in their daily lives. Everyone hates
the feeling of a cold, hard keyboard first thing in the
morning or on a chilly day. These soft protectors
We like making things
for our beloveds
and watching their
around your wrists and lower palms turn a Monday
hangover into a soft landing.
I’ve saved the most endearing for last: baby
clothes. To be specific, rompers. There will never be
a time when anyone looks better in a romper than
under the age of 18 months — but what a time it is!
First, you can stuff babies into anything, and they
don’t even know what’s going on. They look fabulous
in every color; they’re stunning in a sack. For half a
yard of fabric, you can make snap-up rompers in the
most hilarious prints with outlandish buttons and
trims, appealing only to their parents’ egos.
The key to romper prep is this: buy snap tape,
cotton tape that has embedded snaps every couple
of inches, by the yard. You sew the tape onto the
legs, and voila, you’re finished.
New parents are insecure, trying to be perfect
in a cruel and chaotic world. When you make a
romper for their newborn, they unfold the little
garment and cry out with delight. The Earth rights
its axis, the sun gets a little skip in its step. They will
treasure this little original for their children and their
great-grandchildren. The babies will wiggle their
impossibly tiny fingers and toes with life, stretching
your romper to its limits — and you’ll say to yourself,
“Now this is what gift giving is all about.” ×
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